Weight loss drug Qsymia approved for use in US

A women walks down the street on Michigan Avenue, 19 October, 2006 More than one-third of adults in the US are now obese, according to official figures

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new weight-loss drug from the pharmaceutical company Vivus.

The FDA approved Qsymia for patients who are overweight or obese and have at least one other weight-related condition.

The approval comes after the FDA gave another anti-obesity drug, Belviq, the green light last month.

The approvals are the first in the US for 13 years.

The FDA said that two studies conducted on patients who took Qsymia, along with changing their diet and increasing exercise, showed an average weight loss of 6.7% and 8.9%.

However, the drug can increase heart rate and will therefore not be recommended for patients with heart disease or who have recently suffered a stroke.

Vivus will also have to carry our further trials to assess the impact of the drug on cardiac health.

Pregnant women are another group who must not use the drug, as it can cause harm to foetuses, the FDA said.

Qsymia is a combination of two drugs already approved by the FDA, phentermine and topiramate. Those drugs are marketed for aiding weight loss and preventing seizures respectively.

Doctors in the US have urged health regulators to give the green light to new weight-loss treatments as obesity rates among American adults approach 35%.

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